Meet Lorraine Farnham, partner of award-winning accountancy firm Nordens, whose responsibilities at Nordens are primarily focused on managing a team of conscientious, valuable and accommodating accountants and trainees. Aside from providing a first-class accountancy service, Nordens aim to make clients’ lives easier by offering them the advice they need to help their businesses run more smoothly. As a follow up from our last interview with Panayiota Viglas also at Nordens, and fresh from celebrating this year British Accountancy Award, we ask Lorraine share advice for us budding female entrepreneurs and to discuss the future of Nordens.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your current role at Nordens?
I started off working for Ernst and Young straight from school after my A-Levels. I always knew I wanted to be an accountant and, despite having places at university offered, I rejected them in light of an offer from Ernst and Young as I believed gaining on the job experience and studying for ACCA would be more beneficial.
I came to Nordens following 10 years in practice as a senior manager in London (after nearly 4 years at Ernst and Young). Initially, I came to assist with the takeover of Ashton Hart David Lee but, I became a team manager following an internal need for someone to be more ‘hands-on’ with the training and managing of the team members.
My current role in Nordens still remains at managing the team members but, has now expanded to dealing with R&D claims for clients, developing an audit department and managing client and team queries on an ad hoc basis.
What is your typical workday like?
My typical day involves reviewing accounts, training the team members to help them develop new skills and learning from queries that arise with their clients. Managing the workflow of the team to ensure that productivity stays high and dealing with client queries, accounts, and tax. Every day is different and, until the day starts, you never know what queries/work will arrive on my desk or in my inbox.
Nordens is a British owned company, but in your opinion, how do you think Brexit will affect the economy in general?
I think the Brexit move will impact on the economy to a detrimental effect at first as the economy gets used to the differences in the trading terms, however, given that the economy is a strong one, I believe that with the correct trade negotiations, the impact on the economy will be reduced and this will help it to recover quickly and move forward at a better rate to make the net impacts more positive. I believe that the impact will result in a fundamental change to the economic model that the country is used to adhering to, however, providing there is flexibility within the different industries, I think that it will be something that can help the economy to grow.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future at Nordens?
I would love to help the company expand further and become a practice that is more dynamic in terms of services in which it can offer to clients. Nordens has been a very fast-growing business and I am sure that we will be able to sustain that and push forwards whilst maintaining our unique selling point of being a personable firm who always puts the client first.
If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what you say it would it be?
To change the perception of all employers that there is as much to offer from women as there are for men in the workplace. Although I haven’t experienced any issues recently, when I first started out in Ernst and Young, I was promoted early on in my career and at a young age which did present me with problems with managing some staff members. As I have become more confident in my ability, I have tended to not shy away from anything and therefore, cemented my position in firms which has helped significantly.
If you could share one piece of advice for budding female entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Create clear goals of where you want to go and how you want to get there and persist until you achieve those goals. Take all setbacks as a learning experience and take the opportunities to grow from them to help you move forward and closer to your goals.